RE: Indexes and PDF Files

Subject: RE: Indexes and PDF Files
From: "Klasovsky, Nick" <nklasovsky -at- nordson -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 08:40:07 -0500

Nobody addressing this subject has mentioned PDF bookmarks.

We do not include indexes in our equipment manuals, only tables of
contents, because our user surveys have showed us that most of our users
don't know what an index is much less how to use it. Most don't even use
the table of contents, just page-flip until they find what they want.

We publish our printed equipment manuals on the internet as PDF files,
and we bookmark each and every one. We set the file to open with
bookmarks displayed. Our users use the bookmarks to jump to the topics
they need. The primary bookmarks are the topic headings, and by manually
adding bookmarks as needed we can make the bookmarks serve the same
purpose as indexes.

Of course, I am talking about 1-200 page hardware manuals, not software
manuals. Bookmarking may be more difficult and the manual tasks may not
be practical. However, I have noticed that most PDF files available on
the internet do not contain bookmarks. There are numerous tools
available that can automate the creation of bookmarks. Those who publish
many PDF files on the internet would be doing their users a service by
at least bookmarking their files.

Nick Klasovsky
Senior Technical Writer
Team Finishing
Nordson Corporation
Amherst, OH 44001
nklasovsky -at- nordson -dot- com

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